MMS named achieving school
It has been a four year climb but it has been worth it as Manila Middle School has been named one of 67 achieving schools in the state, receiving an "A" rating.
Principal LeAnn Helms said the middle school teachers and students have worked very hard over the last four years getting the middle school out of the needs improvement status. The great results came from the 2013-2014 test scores.
"This is based on students and teachers understanding the importance of growth," Ms. Helms said. "It is all about growing kids."
The theme last year during the testing time was "In It to Win It" and that is exactly what they did.
Ms. Helms gives the teachers, students and parents credit for the success.
Manila Middle School has 310 students in the fifth through eighth grades with a 30 member staff.
"Middle school is all about living outside of the box," Ms. Helms said.
State Representative Dave Wallace visited the Manila Middle School last week to offer his congratulations to the students and staff for reaching their goal.
Ms. Helms has served the middle school for four years, principal for three. Her goal has been to not only educate the students but allow them to have fun along the way. She has taught students the joy of education.
"I've learned it is sometimes okay to just dance," she said.
Over the last few years several robotics teams have been formed and the students have won several awards in robotic competition.
Helms has instilled a sense of school pride and community pride in the middle school students. Each month students participate in a community service project.
Math and literacy have been double blocked and it seems to be helping.
For two years all of the middle school students were treated to a trip to the space camp in Alabama. They have done well in the quiz bowl teams, chess team and entrepreneur business competition.
Manila Middle School was honored at the National Middle School Conference.
"Middle school is an amazing age," she said. "Students are finding themselves and it is up to us to give them many options. One African proverb says it well. 'It takes a whole staff and community to educate the whole middle school child.'"
It has been a good year for Manila Middle School but Ms. Helms will not be stopping there. She will continue to inspire, encourage and lead the students to set and accomplish higher goals.